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Submitted: 12-30-2013 by GOC
This is a truly awesome tandem kayak. I was lucky enough to receive one of the first of these boats arriving in the UK and it has served me and my family well for 5 years now. The outfitting is excellent for an expedition sea kayak - well positioned reflective deck lines and ample elastics.
There is no doubt that this is a very capable looking craft which turns heads of experienced and novice paddlers alike. At 610cm (20') it is a good sized and well proportioned double which, despite its ample, stability inducing width, looks sleek and ready to eat up the miles. The bow is less fine than in many other tandems but this allows for ample storage capacity in the front compartment and the extra bouyancy at the front inspires confidence when riding a following sea or approaching a shore in moderate surf. The 3 storage compartments are large enough to fit all the camping equipment or family beach kit you should need. A spacious central compartment separates the two cockpits giving enough distance between the two paddlers to prevent any paddle clash.
The Double Shot is a fast boat and easily able to keep up with and overtake the majority of single sea kayaks when both paddlers are in flow. The flattened hull and the boats length allow it to catch wind and swell waves easily leading to fast effortless downwind rides. Like all doubles, heading in to waves is more tiresome with the positioning of the two paddlers at the bow and stern resulting in much hull slapping and resulting loss in speed.
It is a stable and confidence inspiring boat which edges extremely well for a double and can turn on a dime. In fact it is an exceptionally maneuverable craft which requires the use of the standard rudder to hold a true course in wind or when doing longer crossings. The rudder lifts, deploys and works well, I have made a few minor changes to the attachment of the lines to the foot pedals, but with the rudder down the boat tracks very well.
I have paddled long miles in this boat in comfort. I have paddled with paddling friends, complete novices but more often than not with my wife or daughter. Until my daughter reached the age of 11, she and my wife both sat in the front cockpit, my daughter on a cushion between my wife's legs - a perfect way to introduce her to the joys of sea kayaking! Even with my wife and daughter in the front cockpit, the boat was fast with predominantly just me paddling from the stern, we were able to lean into waves and felt confident even when conditions became more lively.
Both cockpits are large enough to accommodate all sizes of paddler and the foot pedals can easily be adjusted to cater for almost everyone. Some outfitting may be required for those requiring a snug fit. Thigh braces are absent from this craft, but although I depend on them massively in my single kayak (NDK Explorer) I do not miss them in this tandem - my legs make sufficient contact with the underside of the deck to feel in control (the boat was designed by Nigel Foster and he knew what he was doing!).
My only concern with the boat is its strength. The glass fibre layup is much thinner than with my explorer. It has a honeycombed hull which is light and supposedly very strong but the large flat areas without any keel to add rigidity mean that there is a lot of flex when landing and launching from uneven substrate shores. The hull at the bow and stern is very rigid but I do fear a little for the central area and the boats sides which are very flexible. Having said this, we have been careful and have not sustained any unusual damage aside from the expected and easily repaired gelcoat scratches. The upshot of the honycombe hull and light layup is a boat that is light for its size which is important for a large double.
In summary this is a fast and very maneuverable, confidence inspiring and seaworthy tandem. Ideal for an adventurous family or someone willing to impart the joys of sea kayaking to less experienced partners. We love it!
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